Belgrade Pillars, 2009-2011
5 wooden pillars, about 400 x 55 cm each
(US Embassy Belgrade collection)
Branislav Nikolić, the author dealing for many years with a social dimension of the sculpture as a medium in public space, has acted as an archeologist of the contemporary society within the project Belgrade Pillars. The objects of his interest are wainscot, door frames and windows, abandoned by the garbage containers, which have lost their purpose: natural one (as a tree) and utilitarian (as woodwork). The artist uses the found waste as indexed location of social circumstances in order to create his own processuality, i.e., his own artistic gesture intervening in the social body. The process preceding Belgrade Pillars entails searching the streets and collecting materials, joinery thrown out of the houses, business premises and institutions. Then, their assortment, cutting – in order to obtain usable parts, and then assembling takes place as well as attaching of the ‘collage’ onto the previously prepared wooden constructions. Material of every pillar relates to certain part of the town, therefore the gallery now holds The Pilar of Banjica, of Dorćol, New Belgrade, Dušanovac… These pillars display colours characteristic of the part of the town where they came from. For instance, the specific red windows of Banjica ‘have painted’ this particular pillar in red, the typical old fashioned white colour of the woodwork from Dorćol is responsible for the white colour of this pillar etc. City vibrations become resonant in a way that optimizes the society and institution in artistic and socially engaged terms. The history of the town transformed and ennobled by this artistic gesture is inscribed into what one day will be institutional history of the specific gallery space.